Marketing to customers in a recession

Are you wondering how your business can continue to market during an economic downturn?

Undoubtedly, the economic downturn has brought unforeseen challenges to businesses, especially small organizations and startups. Marketers face their biggest challenge during a recession: how to keep their marketing efforts effective without overspending.

In this guide, we’ll explore best practices for marketing during a recession, with tips on setting budgets, using digital marketing strategies, and maintaining customer relationships.

Navigating tough economic times is tough for business, but that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your marketing efforts. Read our business blog post on how to market effectively in a down economy. Topics include:

  • How to customize your marketing goals and metrics
  • Cost cutting and cost refocusing
  • Using technology for improved efficiency and results
  • Focusing on customer retention
  • Using targeted digital marketing channels

Adjust your goals and metrics

During a downturn, it’s important to adjust your marketing goals and KPIs to reflect reduced budgets and changes in customer buying patterns.

Before you begin, consider your mindset. Are you mentally ready for a paradigm shift? If you’re still clinging to the heights of your more significant marketing budget, you need to reset your expectations so you can fully focus on the new challenges ahead.

Start with research on your target audience so that your revised marketing campaigns achieve high conversion rates. Understanding how your audience’s priorities have changed will ensure that you are targeting your marketing campaigns accordingly.

When setting goals, think about what you can realistically achieve with limited resources. You need to try new strategies so your marketing budget goes further.

Cut costs and refocus costs

Cut non-essential expenses and refocus your spending priorities to maximize the impact of your budget.

Identify which marketing activities are most likely to generate return on investment and focus your efforts there, while reducing campaigns that don’t deliver results. Review contracts with vendors and revise terms where possible to reduce costs.

Additionally, shift your media buying strategy to more cost-effective digital, online search, or social media channels.

Finally, review your metrics to ensure they are accurately tracking performance against these lower standards.

Focus on targeted digital marketing channels

Digital marketing can be an effective and cost-effective way to reach customers in a bad economy. It is highly targeted to reach specific audience segments. Platforms like social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) are relatively inexpensive and can deliver significant results.

Effectively targeting the right audiences for your digital campaigns is critical to successful marketing in challenging times. To improve your knowledge of customer preferences, ongoing analysis can include platforms such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and any other social network where your business is present.

Furthermore, data analysis to track your sales and website visitors can help inform profitable strategies. This data can guide advertising targeting decisions and strategies to develop relationships with existing customers.

Also consider emerging opportunities such as increased digital engagement.

One such strategy is content marketing on your website. When done well, content will drive more visitor traffic and help your website achieve higher CRO.

Content marketing

Content marketing strategies such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and other educational and informative content can help establish your business as an industry leader and attract customers. Focus on structure for your blog content, including segment optimization, so search engines love it.

While creating content may seem cost-effective, doing it well takes a lot of time. You can use AI writers, but we recommend using them for less than 20% of the article. Take your time with every piece of content on your website so that it is accessible and attracts visitors to it.

Use technology for immediate results

In today’s digital age, you can use technology to cost-effectively identify and target new customers.

Using marketing automation and search engine optimization tools and marketing platforms can be cost-effective and deliver better results than doing every task manually. For example, many automation platforms do a poor job of capturing customer data. BusinessBlogs uses Neil Patel’s UberSuggest to analyze SEO opportunities.

Focus on customer retention

Retaining existing customers is often just as important, if not more so, than acquiring new customers. During an economic downturn, focus on customer loyalty and retention to ensure your marketing dollars are directed wisely.

Try high-reward marketing strategies, including:

  • Rewards programs or customer referral systems
  • Voucher Marketing
  • Loyalty discounts
  • VIP updates
  • Early access invitations

Marketers know that change is inevitable and there is some trial and error involved in customer retention initiatives to keep customers engaged and happy.

Word of mouth marketing

Encourage satisfied customers to spread the word about your business to their friends and family. Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing and can be very cost effective.


All organizations need marketers who can embrace change and adapt their marketing strategies to meet the downturn. However, you shouldn’t resort to drastic cost-cutting measures in a down economy.

We’ve covered several examples of cost-effective marketing strategies that businesses can adopt during an economic downturn. The key is to be creative, think outside the box and focus on delivering value to your customers.

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